Two wine storage tanks in Sao Lorenco de Bairro, Portugal, crashed this week, releasing their contents all over the town. The seaside city was flooded by an ocean of wine that rushed downhill.
Red wine flowed down the street and stunned the town’s 2,000 residents. Levira Distillery, the owner of the two tanks, is paying for everything to be cleaned up while they figure out what happened. Because to the European surplus and inflation in 2023, Levira, one of Portugal’s largest distilleries, had a large stockpile of wine. According to their website, Levira Distillery creates wine and then uses the leftover grape pulp and yeast to make a wide range of other items.
The wine could have contaminated the neighboring Certima River, therefore efforts were made right once to stop that from happening. Instead of letting it all go into the river, the Fire Department may send most of the wine river over to an empty field nearby. There are no reported injuries, but the damage estimates are rising rapidly as people begin to take stock of the situation. Soil saturated in wine will be dug up and given the appropriate care.
A total of 2.2 million liters, or over 600,000 gallons or nearly 3 million bottles, of wine were stored in the two tanks. Even without accounting for the significant damage done to the town, the cost of the wine alone, at $5 per bottle, would be $15 million. The cost of fixing the damage is expected to be in the millions.
Since its inception in 1923, the Levira Distillery has existed without incident. They were able to adapt their facility to make hand sanitizer in time for the pandemic, and by 2020, they would be producing 15,000 gallons of sanitizing gel. Levira ships wine to adjacent nations, with 2% of exports being Portuguese wine.